I’ve lived half my life in the desert and the other half in Michigan.
I recently returned to the desert, for many reasons. One justification is I’ll be signing my books at several locations in the southwest. I keep asking myself why I returned to the desert. I absolutely love the Great Lakes, woods, songbirds and green grass. Okay, I realize there are some of you old folks out there who enjoy retirement living in Arizona, but let’s be honest; your summers are spent on cruises or at some casino. I’m so glad you enjoy the air conditioning. I have to be out there, moving and doing, enjoying fresh air.
You might argue that sitting in your living room with a cold beverage beats dealing with snow and ice. Believe me, the few months a year that the desert becomes somewhat bearable, I’m missing a hike in the woods or a good snowball fight.
I can always put on more clothes. You can only take off so many layers before you’re stark naked! (Please, I don’t want to see that!)
I could have been taking part in a “Pure Michigan” commercial campaign this weekend. Instead I’m living in what I can only describe as the closest thing to Hell on earth.
Let me give an example of my Welcome Home:
Day one – Drove down I-15 toward Las Vegas. The air in Utah was so thick from forest and brush fires I couldn’t see the mountains!
My husband later showed me a scorpion he caught in the house. I hoped that would be the only one I’d see.
Day two – Wanted to have a romantic evening with my husband once things ‘cooled’ to the low 90s, only to discover there were black widows all over the porch swing. That night, we had the air conditioning on but the bedroom stays a constant 85 degrees no matter what we do. Even with the fan on, I was having killer hot flashes. Guess who woke up grumpy?
Day three- Stepped on a scorpion in the kitchen and screamed so loud that both my husband and daughter came running! Wanted to go home to Michigan right then.
Day four- Went to church and was having hot-flashes-from-Hades until I got into the building. Once I stepped out a few hours later, I was swimming in sweat inside my dress. Went home and hid in the basement where it was only in the upper 80s and watched the cats chase sun spiders.
Day five- Walked into the garage to get something from the deep freeze. Wandered into a black widow nest and startled its occupant. She startled me as well and I went screaming up the stairs.
Day six – Got the house sprayed. Didn’t even know there were roaches around. That evening we had dead roaches all over the porch and walk. Another night of tossing and turning.
Day seven- Wanted to go on a walk since it was only in the 90s. It was also humid, which didn’t bother me, but that should have been an indication of things to come. It isn’t called “monsoon season” for nothing and we had a flash flood in a matter of minutes streaming down the street. The neighbor was even stacking sandbags! His yard still flooded. Spent another evening suffering through what can only be described as my own personal trip through an oven. I slow roasted all night. No matter how I set the fan I could not get cool enough to sleep. Every couple hours I was up and down, up and down. At least I got some exercise.
Day eight-Today, I finally took that walk. I was beginning to get cabin fever. I put some cold water into a bottle and set off. I watched kids at the park surrounding the fountains and running in the water feature. That made me smile. I walked down a sidewalk for a few blocks and thought a little girl was saying “Hi!” Instead she was hopping up and down in bare feet screaming, “Hot! Hot! Hot!” Her toes could find no respite. A little farther up the road, I took a sip of my water. It was as warm as soup.
As I write this my family is asking me what’s for dinner. The kitchen is closed. I don’t know about the rest of them, but I think I'll eat a salad (or a gallon of ice cream).
Please, tell me why I’m here? I miss Michigan.